Sports Ministry Gives Strict Conditions to Meet Before NPFL Returns

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*Calls for full implementation of NPFL’s Club Licensing Control

By Duro Ikhazuagbe

Despite lifting of ban on sports activities by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (FMYSD) has listed conditions to meet by both the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and club owners.

Last Thursday, the National Coordinator of the Taskforce, Dr. Sani Aliyu disclosed in Abuja that football activities as well as other outdoor events are free to return without fans in the stadium but under the strict supervision of the FMY&SD and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

But yesterday, the Permanent Secretary of the Sports Ministry, Mr. Gabriel Aduda, issued a statement directing the NFF and the club owners not to open any stadium to open for matches without total implementation of the club licensing control before the new football season can resume.

“We are happy that the ban on sports has been lifted after so many months of inactivity due to the Covid-19 scourge. The Ministry is not oblivious of the challenges that would be encountered in organising football matches. We cannot take anything for granted.

“As a way of safeguarding the lives of our players, coaches, officials and fans, approval must be sought and given before any game is played. The Ministry would ensure that all protocols and guidelines are obeyed as directed by PTF and NCDC,” observed the Perm Sec.

He hinted that the Ministry has set up a Covid-19 Monitoring and Approval team that would ensure compliance before any game is played.

Aduda warned that the Nigerian domestic league would not resume until basic conditions are fulfilled.

“We have a responsibility to enforce the implementation of the Club Licensing Control as stipulated in the statues setting up the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).

“The domestic league will not commence until the regulations and controls bothering on financial and licensing control are enforced. The NFF must enforce these regulations and controls as stipulated, otherwise the Nigerian professional and amateur leagues would not be approved to resume.

“These include proper licensing of players, insurance for players and coaches, compliance with FIFA rules on players contract and transfer, running the clubs as professional endeavour among others.”

The statement directed the NFF to communicate these decisions to the clubs to forestall any crisis.